Unfit through drink or drugs (in charge) (Revised 2017)

Road Traffic Act, 1988, s.4(2)
Effective from: 24 April 2017

Triable only summarily:
Maximum: Level 4 fine and/ or 3 months
Offence range: Band B fine – 12 weeks’ custody

User guide for this offence


Step 1 – Determining the offence category

The Court should determine the offence category using the table below.

Category 1      Higher culpability and greater harm

Category 2      Higher culpability and lesser harm or lower culpability and greater harm

Category 3      Lower culpability and lesser harm

The court should determine the offender’s culpability and the harm caused with reference only to the factors below. Where an offence does not fall squarely into a category, individual factors may require a degree of weighting before making an overall assessment and determining the appropriate offence category.

CULPABILITY demonstrated by one or more of the following:

Factors indicating higher culpability

  • High likelihood of driving
  • In charge of LGV, HGV or PSV etc.
  • Offering to drive for hire or reward

Factors indicating lower culpability

  • All other cases

HARM demonstrated by one or more of the following:

Factors indicating greater harm

  • High level of impairment

Factors indicating lesser harm

  • All other cases